Ethics complaint filed against Parks & Rec board member


by SHELTON GREEN / KVUE News and Photojournalist MATT OLSEN

Bio | Email | Follow: @SheltonG_KVUE

Posted on October 29, 2013 at 10:13 PM

Updated Tuesday, Oct 29 at 10:34 PM

AUSTIN – An Austin Parks and Recreation Department board member and East Austin activist has become the focus of an ethics complaint.

At Austin's Ethics Review Commission meeting Tuesday night, members discussed scheduling a final hearing for a complaint lodged against Susana Almanza.

Besides being a board member of Parks and Rec, Almanza is the co-director of PODER (People Organized in Defense of Earth and her Resources).

KVUE News has learned that Alice Walker, one of the owners of East Side Tubes/MOC Kayaks, filed a complaint with the Ethics Commission against Almanza in late October. 

The complaint alleges that Almanza did not recuse herself from Parks and Recreation discussions about East Side Tubes. It is believed that PODER wanted to ban the business. 

A few weeks ago Austin city leaders decided to shut down East Side Tubes, citing safety concerns and complaints about noise and litter. 

The complaint says in part that Susana Almanza is an active member of PODER, which is seeking to ban tubing and close MOC Kayaks/East Side Tubes. It also states that Almanza is using her board member status to hide "a personal agenda."

Almanza declined KVUE’s request for an interview, saying the complaint is part of an effort to undermine her potential bid for an Austin City Council seat. 

If Almanza is found guilty of ethics violations, she faces up to a year in jail and/or a $4,000 fine.

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